In a battle of the two worst teams in baseball, the A’s came out on top, beating the Washington Nationals 10-6 in the first game of his must-watch series.
Well, the pitching wasn’t there but the bats sure were, racking up 13 hits and six walks en route to the 10 run outburst, their most runs scored in a game since before the All-Star break. And since this was Oakland’s first time visiting Nationals Park, they are undefeated at the stadium!
Both teams got to scoring early in this one. Veteran Tony Kemp led off the game with a double and came in to score on an RBI single off the bat of Sean Murphy.
Washington didn’t wait long to answer back. Starting pitcher Cole Irvin’s second pitch of the game was sent deep into the Nationals’ stands for a leadoff home run, then a double and a pair of sac flies helped give Washington a lead. They added on to that lead the very next inning, too, thanks to a HBP and three hits, giving Washington a 4-1 lead after two frames.
Then the A’s had a big frame in the third. It all started with Dermis Garcia’s first major-league home run, taking a hanging fastball and sending it into the seats in left-center field to close the gap:
The Green & Gold weren’t done there as a trio of singles from a trio of rookies knocked the Washington starter out of the game, and the veteran Kemp capped off the scoring with a 2-run double to retake the lead for Oakland:
Pat yourself on the back, TK pic.twitter.com/uP68ZxvrAW— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 31, 2022
Washington got one back in the fourth on a walk and RBI double, but that was all they managed against Irvin the rest of his night.
The 1-run lead didn’t feel like it would hold up, so the bats kept up the pressure on the Nationals’ bullpen. A single and a couple walks loaded the bases for Murphy, and he took the sixth pitch of the at-bat and sent it over the wall for his first career grand slam, sending it into almost the exact same spot as Garcia’s home run:
There is no question that Murphy has firmly established himself as a Tier-1 catcher, and these kinds of performances are only going to increase the price for interested teams this offseason in an expected dtrade of the star catcher. He’s unlikely to be on the next winning A’s club but his fingerprints will likely be all over it. Keep it up, Murph’.
The offense was pretty done after that, getting just a couple more walks and a single that they didn’t do anything with.
The 10 runs were enough for Irvin on a night he didn’t have his best stuff. He pitched into the sixth and set a career-high in pitches, but he couldn’t quite finish the frame, with Mark Kotsay pulling him after a 1-out single, bringing in Austin Pruitt in relief of the left-hander.
- Cole Irvin: 6 ⅓ IP, 9 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 105 pitches
Well, the road woes continue for Irvin but at least he settled down. After yielding four runs in the first two innings he only allowed three more hits and one run the rest of the way.
Pruitt went a couple innings tonight and gave up a solo home run, while Kirby Snead and Domingo Acevedo each had perfect outings to finish off the Nats. Make that 3 wins in a row for the good guys.
So the A’s get off to this road trip on the right foot, beating a team that, at least record-wise, is worse than them. Irvine struggled yet again on the road but the offense backed him up and exploded, giving him enough of a cushion to collect his 7th win of the year. He probably deserves more than that.
These two teams will be right back at it tomorrow evening, same time and same place. It’ll be righty James Kaprielian for Oakland, and he’ll be squaring off against the veteran Anibal Sanchez. Should be another exhilarating game between the two worst teams in the league.